India gave a historic judgment by decriminalizing homosexuality back in 2018, but we still have a long way to go, when it comes to weeding out homophobia from the minds of the Indian population.
Amidst all of this, Indian athlete Dutee Chand took a brave step and spoke about her sexuality. The first openly gay Indian athlete and the first Indian woman sprinter to win gold at the Universiade, comes from a poor family of weavers living in Jajpur district of Odisha, whose source of inspiration has always been her older sister Saraswati Chand, a state level athlete.
This year, the 23 year old announced that she was in a same sex relationship with a distant cousin of her, who is a 2nd year B.A. student in Bhubaneswar. “I was tired of living in fear. While my parents and most of my siblings supported me, my older sister wanted me to end my relationship and threatened to tell everyone and ensure my career was over if I didn’t. It was my girlfriend who encouraged me to speak up,” Chand said in a Vogue interview, last month.
It’s being three years since she realized that she felt attracted towards women and has been in two serious relationships with women, since then. But in an unfortunate turn of events both of them got married to men, under family pressure.
Chand definitely stands as a LGBTQIA+ youth icon, who has inspired the young adults of our country not just through her achievements but also members of the queer community to have the courage to come out in public. Chand’s story, however, hasn’t been a cakewalk since back home she was treated like a social outcast. The whole event did disappoint her but she chose to pick herself up and focused all her attention on sports.
Chand wishes to be an activist and not just a role model for the LGBTQIA+ community—“we cannot ruin our lives because our society does not understand us”.